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Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Single Alert - Lea Michele - Battlefield

 If Lea Michele's character on Glee is known for anything, it's persistence (sometimes annoyingly so). When things don't go Rachel's way, she may have a mini-meltdown, but she'll eventually get right back out there and belt out a Celine Dion ballad that brings the house down. But this time it's Lea, not Rachel, who needs to get back on that horse. After a lead single that failed to catch on, she's very quickly put out the next track off her upcoming debut album, Louder. And you're not ready for how good it is...
Whenever an actor dips their toe in the world of music, it's hard to get their day job out of your head. You feel like you already know them, particularly if they're known for just one major role, like Lea is for Glee. So you really have to try to remove any preconceived notions that you're listening to a Rachel Berry song. You're not. 

She's gonna sound the same (spoiler alert: amazing), but she's gotta convince you of who she is as an artist.

Lea's first single, Cannonball, was a good song. It had a powerful and positive message and its sound was very radio-friendly. And yet it didn't immediately connect, despite people giving it a fair shake. We couldn't even put our finger on the reason why, until the release of new single Battlefield.

Cannonball was a good song, but it wasn't inspiring on an artistic level. That quality wouldn't be necessary for most actor-turned-singers, but Lea's character on Glee literally inspired a generation.

And if there's one thing the new single is, it's inspiring.

There's a great deal of emotion in Battlefield. That was true of Cannonball, but there's a clear difference. Cannonball was polished for radio. Battlefield has that raw quality that will kick you in the gut, and make you cry for a few seconds (or minutes...or maybe hours...look, don't judge us). 

It's the same passion in Christina Aguilera's contribution to Say Something, and in Lea's own gut-wrenching cover of Make You Feel My Love, from the Cory Monteith tribute episode of Glee. There are moments when it sounds like Lea is literally screaming from sadness in Battlefield, complete with scratchy and shaky vocals. But it's not off-putting at all. It's actually quite moving, and it  feels passionate and authentic.

When you listen to the lyrics, you realize that authenticity is what this song needed. An honest tale of someone realizing their love is gone and is destroying both parties. It's again reminiscent of the pain in Say Something, and in fact could easily be the followup song to that track. This time there's no hope, no begging, no pleading, just the realization that this war needs to end. When Lea sings "we seemed like a good idea", it's heartbreaking acceptance in its most moving form. 

And one last comparison to Say Something, which was easily one of the best songs of 2013. Battlefield, actually has a piano melody that's catchier. And it's also not a complete downer. As beautiful as Say Something is (and good god it is), there's no joy in it. Battlefield is sad, but it also brings closure and hope for the future, which we suspect is a very real place for Lea right now.

With one year ending and another beginning, it's the perfect time to release a song about letting go of the past. This song deserves to get Lea some mainstream music cred in 2014. Battlefield is the fresh start she needed. It can be your fresh start, too, if you buy it at iTunes. There's no video for it yet, but here's the audio...

We can only hope the video is even half as moving as her performance of Make You Feel My Love below. Congrats, Lea. It appears you'll survive this battlefield, and you just might help a few of us do so as well..!

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